An Italian match made in heaven
Alfa Romeo has just launched the first electrified model in its long and storied history, the Tonale. It’s a more compact crossover companion to the lovely Stelvio, about the size of a Mercedes-Benz GLA, and will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as a plug-in hybrid version with a total of 275hp.
But though a small premium family SUV with the potential for a fully electric version later on is exactly what the company hopes will revive its flagging fortunes, it’ll still need to possess the traditional Alfa traits: be stunning to look at, and a blast to drive. We can already see they’ve succeeded with the former, but for the latter, Pirelli has a big part to play.
The Pirelli P Zero is one of the best ultra high performance (UHP) tyres around at the moment, and was the Editor’s Choice for AUTA’s own 2022 tyre test. Which is great news, because the company has announced that will be one of the original equipment (OE) tyre options for the Alfa Tonale. These P Zeros in the size 235/40R20 96V XL have to be sporty, yet suitable for the green credentials touted by hybrid and diesel models.
To this end, “the P Zeros for the new Alfa Romeo Tonale were developed to emphasize the car’s sporty traits and safe performance in dry asphalt and wet. The synergy between tyres and vehicle is the first goal of Pirelli’s Perfect Fit strategy and the AR marking on the side of the P Zero certifies that the tyres have been developed specially for the Tonale.”
This development started back in 2019 when Tonale was still in its concept stage and shown at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Ever since, “the course of the production tyre’s design, then, required processes of analysis and design, including virtual analysis and development, the heart of Pirelli’s development strategy, concluding with validation of their performance through tests carried out on Stellantis’s Balocco track and Pirelli’s track at Vizzola Ticino. A wholly Italian tyre, designed in the R&D centre in Milan and produced at the Settimo Torinese plant, one of the group’s most advanced production facilities.”
Both Pirelli and Alfa Romeo have been collaborating since 1925 when “the Pirelli Superflex Cord was the tyre fitted on the Alfa Romeo GT Tipo P2 that … won the first Car World Championship, with such drivers as Antonio Ascari, Giuseppe Campari and Gastone Brilli Peri who won the decisive race on the Monza circuit.”
That relationship continues to this day, with Pirelli’s P Zeros adorning the wheels of the Alfa Romeo Tonale.